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The footmisc package describes 3 additional systems in which one can apply numbering to footnotes in a paper:

bringhurst: ∗, †, ‡, §, ||, ¶.

chicago: ∗, †, ‡, §, ||, #.

wiley: ∗, ∗∗, †, ‡, §, ¶, ||.

This is in addition to these methods:

arabic numerals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

roman numerals: I, II, III, IV, V.

letters: a, b, c, d, e.

For my purposes, I think a system such as bringhurst, chicago, or wiley are suitable, because custom symbols are used:

  • Arabic numerals appear to frequently throughout my document already.
  • I can't find single-character unicode roman numerals exceeding 12. When rendered in XeTex, numbers above (such as "ⅫⅡ") appear with an added space.
  • The letters in the alphabet look too much like the text of the document.

However, I find that the bringhurst, chicago, or wiley systems has some problems:

  • They are limited to 6 or 7 symbols. I need at least 30, if not more.
  • They do not appear to follow a logical pattern explaining the order or shape.
  • They use symbols such as ¶, § and #, which I think usually carry very different meanings.

Are there any other sets of symbols within LaTeX's packages or from unicode which you think could make good footnote marks?

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1  
The first three forms you describe are used on a 'per page' basis (can be achieved with both footmisc and bigfoot). If you have 30+ footnotes on one page, I would think you need, and want, to use regular Arabic numerals. There is, furthermore, no need for a 'logical' order of the various symbols since the order is clearly indicated by how 'high up' on a page they appear: as long as the order in the notes is the same, no one is going to get confused. –  jon Nov 24 '11 at 22:15
2  
If you have 30 footnotes on a page, you need to do some serious rewriting… –  Seamus Nov 24 '11 at 22:35
2  
@Seamus --- It can easily happen in so-called critical editions of texts, where one might have to record references to other sources and/or editorial interventions. (Although I doubt that is the case here.) –  jon Nov 24 '11 at 23:27
1  
I've seen review articles with close to that on a page: That is a science paper that doesn't present new information, but tries to act as a guide to all previous work on the topic. Not sure if any hit 30/page, but they can get quite intense if a lot of work has been done in a small area. –  Canageek Nov 24 '11 at 23:45
    
Surely that's 30 end_notes on a page. Not 30 notes with those notes at the bottom of _that page. And if these are just references, surely just [42] rather than footnotes is a better idea? –  Seamus Nov 25 '11 at 11:29
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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

From the alphalph package documentation:

1.2.3 Multiple symbols

LATEX's standard set of footnote symbols contains doubled symbols at the higher positions. Could this principle be generalized? Yes, but first we need a clean footnote symbol list without doubled entries, example:

\usepackage{alphalph}
\makeatletter
\newcommand*{\fnsymbolsingle}[1]{%
  \ensuremath{%
    \ifcase#1%
    \or *%
    \or \dagger
    \or \ddagger
    \or \mathsection
    \or \mathparagraph
    \else
      \@ctrerr
    \fi
  }%
}
\makeatother
\newalphalph{\fnsymbolmult}[mult]{\fnsymbolsingle}{}
\renewcommand*{\thefootnote}{%
  \fnsymbolmult{\value{footnote}}%
}

The own definition of \fnsymbolsingle has the advantage that this list can easily modified. Otherwise you can use \@fnsymbol directly, because it uses the same first five symbols.

\usepackage{alphalph}
\makeatletter
\newalphalph{\fnsymbolmult}[mult]{\@fnsymbol}{5}
\makeatother
\renewcommand*{\thefootnote}{%
  \fnsymbolmult{\value{footnote}}%
}

enter image description here

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As I outlined here, this is how you would go about making a custom footnote counter.

\makeatletter
\newcommand*{\wackyfn}[1]{%
  \expandafter\@wackyfn\csname c@#1\endcsname%
}

\newcommand*{\@wackyfn}[1]{%
  $\ifcase#1 \or1\or2\or3\or4\or5\or6%
    \else\@ctrerr\fi$%
}
\renewcommand\thefootnote{\wackyfn{footnote}}
\makeatother

This actually just makes a counter that goes up to 6 and then fails. But replace the numbers with whatever you want, and add more \or foo type things.

As for what symbols to use, there are packages like marvosym and pifont that contain a bunch of symbols.

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You can use Greek numbers.

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{fixltx2e}
\usepackage[greek,english]{babel}
\begin{document}

\makeatletter
  \setcounter{footnote}{0}%
\def\@fnsymbol#1{%
     \greektext
     \TextOrMath {\greeknumeral{#1}}{\greeknumeral{#1}}
  }

\renewcommand\thefootnote{\@fnsymbol\c@footnote}%
 \def\@makefnmark{\rlap{\@textsuperscript{\normalfont\@thefnmark}}}%
 \long\def\@makefntext#1{\parindent 1em\noindent
 \hb@xt@1.9em{%
     \hss\@textsuperscript{\normalfont\@thefnmark}}#1}%

\latintext

First\footnote{One}, second\footnote{two}, third\footnote{three}, fourth\footnote{four},
 fifth\footnote{five}, sixth\footnote{6},seven\footnote{7},eight\footnote{8},nine\footnote{9}, ten\footnote{10}, eleven\footnote{11}
\end{document}

Run greek.dtx from babel to find a bit more details for greek numbers. Personally I wouldn't use them, neither would I use 30 footnotes on a page (critical edition or not), it would plainly be unreadable. I would rather use a combination of end notes and footnotes.

enter image description here

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I completely agree with jon comment: having 30+ footnotes per page almost demands Arabic numerals (using 30+ other symbols could result really confusing); I don't think that Arabic numerals for the footnotes will conflict with other use of Arabic numerals in your document, but if you insist on changing them, you could slightly modify them (using italicized numerals, for example). The perpage, and maybe para, options from footmisc seem also mandatory, so you could say something like

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[paperheight=2cm]{geometry}% just for the example
\usepackage[perpage,para]{footmisc}

\renewcommand\thefootnote{\itshape\arabic{footnote}}

\begin{document}

text\footnote{First footnote.} text\footnote{Second footnote.} text\footnote{Third footnote.}

\end{document}

enter image description here

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